Indiana politicians have made a crusade of pushing abortion out of reach. This year, they’ve added more shame and punishment to their cruel agenda.
In March, Governor Eric Holcomb signed SEA 340, which requires health providers to submit a report to the state when a woman who has had an abortion seeks treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. Physicians who fail to submit these reports would face criminal penalties and possible jail time.
The law’s proponents claim they are collecting information to protect women’s health. This ruse couldn’t be farther from the truth. The real intent of the law is to shame women, intimidate providers, and to collect information to be manipulated for an anti-abortion political agenda.
Leading medical authorities have affirmed abortion is one of the safest medical procedures with low complication rates. But this law specifically targets women and their medical providers with hurdles, burdens and intrusions of privacy with no legitimate medical or research justification.
The vague language in the law means that a woman who has had an abortion could be flagged and reported for a wide range of medical conditions. This does nothing to improve health care in Indiana.
This law puts doctors in the untenable position of having to choose between complying with an irrational and ideologically-driven requirement, or facing potential jail time. The Indiana Academy of Family Physicians called the bill’s provisions “inappropriate in regard to current standards of care, research value, clinical relevance, or reasonable time frames for patient contact.”
The law also singles out abortion clinics for unjustified inspections and requirements that are not imposed on other outpatient settings or hospitals – more proof that SEA 340 has nothing to do with protecting women’s health, and everything to do with targeting clinics and restricting women’s access to abortion care.
That is why the ACLU of Indiana along with Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky are suing to block SEA 340 from taking effect and to protect women from being subjected to another attempt to undermine their reproductive rights.
The law is on our side. The United States Supreme Court firmly ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that medically unnecessary restrictions which do not improve the health and safety of patients are unconstitutional and should not be enforced. Over the last year, federal district and appellate courts have blocked or invalidated multiple Indiana laws that sought to restrict women’s access to abortion care, including HEA 1337, which was struck down by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week.
Most people in this country believe, and the highest court in the land affirms, that a woman should be able to get abortion care with respect and dignity and without needless burdens.
Indiana lawmakers should be improving women’s rights and health, not threatening them.
Women need quality, evidence-based care; instead our politicians are intimidating their providers with bogus requirements that serve no legitimate medical purpose.
Once again Indiana politicians are barging into the exam room to shame women for their personal medical decisions, threaten their doctors with criminal penalties and erode women’s equality and freedom. We’re fighting back.